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mouth. My ledger, which it was once my pride to see clean and neat, is now dashed over with eyes
and noses ;
entries for blonds, lace, ribands, and fans, are made in the names of cardinal Bentivoglio, Charles XII., and the chevalier Bayard. I have frequently attacked him, though surrounded by these heroes, with threats and remonstrances, and have sometimes imagined myself on the point of prevailing. But if the malady. give way in one part, it is sure to break out somewhere else, and is a kind of inveterate humour that circulates through the whole
“ Within these three or four days he is grown less studious of the face, and seems to lay much greater stress upon the hand-writing. He will accept a bill without looking at the signature, if the shape of the O be to his mind, and bears, a proper testimony of openness and integrity. Every bit of paper that contains any writing upon it, is in jeopardy if it come within his reach ; and the other day a piece of roasting beef, discovering the back of a letter with a fine flourish upon it, was arrested in its progress before the fire, and stripped in a moment. I cannot help suspecting that I saw a scrap. of my own handwriting, at the tail of some stupid remarks on narrowness of mind, and a little crooked E, which I learned from my father, has been brought in evidence against me and
my whole family, for I don't know how many generations backwards.
“ When this flying disorder was thus lodged in the fingers' ends, I thought there was some hope of its going altogether; but, alas! it begins already to show itself in the legs; and a man cannot walk a yard without betraying the emotions and qualities of his heart and head. I find also that he takes into the calculation the tones and inflexions of the voice; and
his hair is cut above his ears, I suppose to facilitate the entrance of every cadence and semi-tone.
“ Now, sir, if this rage should spread much, we must begin to talk with our fingers, and manufacture words like yarn; for no man will be able to look you in the face, or speak, or write, without disclosing every secret of his bosom. As my nephew reads the LOOKER-ON, your admission of this letter may turn out greatly to his benefit, and will much oblige,
“ Yours, faithfully, asyn o's Won's
cloud. M. BENJ. INVOICE.",
Der Vol 10 e 1938, uilis,
« I do not doubt but that it will give you greater pleasure to be informed of any new invention of public utility, than of any new shape or instance of folly or degeneracy. I am the author of a discovery which I think of great and general importance, as it supplies a method, that is perfectly innocent, of coming at the real characters of those with who a we are connected. When I was a little boy, I could tell, · by my father's manner of stirring the fire at his return from 'Change, the price of stocks, and the news at Lloyd's. If things went ill, he would spend half an hour in beating it down, till the same gloom was created in the parlour that prevailed in the Alley; but if a fleet had just arrived, he would be sure to raise a flame to give it a warm reception: 9177
“ My observations stood me in great stead during my apprenticeship; and the sound of the poker over head, when my master came home to dinner, like the bar before the entrance of an opera singer, acquainted me at once with the disposition I should find him in when I went up stairs; whether I was to be reproached for foppery and neglect, or commended for my decency and diligence.
“ I have since frequented clubs and parish meetings, and have always foreseen, by the aid of this criterion, who was to be the speaker, and what turn the argument was to take. I know, the moment a man advances towards the poker, that there is something stirring in his head; and, when the subject has been politics, I have been able to pronounce, from a violent raking of the bottom bar, that his indignation would be directed against places and pensions. I can now determine, at a morning call, whether or not I am to be asked to dinner, by the use that is made of the poker. Whenever I have any
business to settle, I desire to talk it over before the fire; and no man handles my money, till I know how he handles my poker. Authors are the only characters out of my reach, who are seldom seen to stir a fire on any provocation ; either because they have no fire at home to stir, or because they are seldom placed within reach of them abroad.
“ Thus, sir, do I call over the coals every man I meet; and the course of my discoveries can only be suspended by a warm summer, or a detention of the colliers. You will at once see the advantage of my practice over physiognomy, chirography, chiromancy, or any other occult art, as a touch of the windcolic may stamp a very good-natured fellow a churl; hand-writing may be forged, and the hand itself be hardened by labour: but the plan I offer will always be practicable, while cold pinches and fire burns, “ Yours, with great warmth,
« Peter Poker."
N 16. TUESDAY, MAY 1.
“ O curas hominum ! O quantum est in rebus inane ! " « Oh, the ridiculous cares of men! how much nothingness
there is in their pursuits !"
EMPIRE OF NOTHING.
ANONG my qualifications for the undertaking in whick I am embarked, I should do myself great injustice not to include my talent for dreaming. When my waking thoughts begin to fail me, I have nothing to do but to place myself in my mother's great chair, and fall deliberately asleep. This I do with such success, that the old lady says I have a genius this way; and very much commends the felicity of my sleeping fancies. Upon these occasions, however, when, to prevent my readers from sleeping, I find it necessary to fall asleep myself, I never omit the ceremony of putting on my figured roquelaure, which exhibits a sort of mystical hieroglyphical pattern, and may, on that account, contain as much virtue and efficacy, as Mrs. Corbyn's original root for gold and silver dreams.
Yesterday being Thursday, there was a meeting of our society, in which Mr. Anthony Allworth delivered some excellent observations on the vulgar tautology of fashionable life, and the nonsense and nul. lity of most of those pursuits which fill out the measure of our existence and our exertions. I came home, determined to follow up my friend's remarks through the course of a paper ; but finding myself sinking below my model, in spite of my utmost efforts, I called for my oracular gown, and dropping into the great chair, where I could neither see nor be seen, was presently charmed into a gentle sleep, that produced a new creation around me.
Methought I was wandering through a dark forest, and, propelled by an irresistible impulse, was pursuing my way, with pain and weariness, through a never-ending labyrinth of brakes and thickets, until on a sudden I found myself near the mouth of a prodigious cavern, out of which there issued vast clouds of fog and vapour. An unaccountable attraction drew me onwards, till I reached the spot, where I could not abstain from standing at the entrance of the cave, and stooping forwards as much as I could, to gain a view of the interior parts of it. At this moment I was attacked with such a giddiness and stupor, accompanied with such a strange singing in my head, that with all my efforts I could not keep my feet; but, after a few turns, fell prone into the hollow abyss, and seemed to fall through a “ vast vacuity” o ten thousand fathom deep.”
Τοσον ενέρθ' υπο όσον ερανος ες' απο γαιης. My fall seemed to resemble that of the Titans, who were nine days and nights in reaching the profundity of Tartarus; and I had began to think I never should regain my footing, when suddenly I found myself in the midst of a spacious plain, at one extremity of which I could discern the spires and turrets of a vast city. As the whole country was enveloped in a thick fog, every object appeared extremely large, and out of all proportion ; and a crowd of people that were amusing themselves with